Top 10 Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms
Celiac disease and the related gluten sensitivity have made big news lately as the effects of the gluten protein on the body are becoming more understood. In celiac disease, the body attacks itself in response to gluten. This is an autoimmune response; however, instead of attacking the offending protein, the body attacks itself, in the tissues of the small intestine. The condition is diagnosed with blood work commonly referred to as a gluten sensitivity test, and dietary changes are the only line of treatment for the condition.
Gluten sensitivity is a similar yet different condition from celiac disease. While gluten sensitivity symptoms are very similar to those found in celiac disease, the mechanism of action characterized by the condition is different. It is been suggested that in cases of gluten sensitivity, the body triggers an inflammatory process in response to ingested gluten. There is no method of diagnosis for sensitivity to gluten, most often it is suspected following the exploration of various gluten sensitivity symptoms. It too is typically treated with dietary and lifestyle changes.
The symptoms of the two ailments are markedly similar, and it is not uncommon for conditions related to intolerance to gluten going unnoticed for long periods to time. Because the majority of signs of gluten sensitivity mimic common and everyday indigestion symptoms, it is not unusual for them to be shrugged off and attributed to other gastrointestinal upset. Depending on the frequency and recurrence of indigestion symptoms, it may be hard to associate them specifically with gluten intake, which can lead to a delay in understanding whether or not gluten may be to blame, even in cases of seemingly constant indigestion. We have compiled the top ten gluten sensitivity symptoms to consider in order to help understand whether or not the protein may be responsible for them.
1. Constipation: Constipation is a common symptom of many conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome. However it is also one of the more familiar gluten sensitivity symptoms. Determining the frequency of constipation can be challenging as regularity varies from person to person. However, those that are having a hard time passing stools more than twice weekly may want to consider speaking to a health care provider.
2. Bloating: A feeling of fullness and pressure in the abdomen that may come and go or worsen after meals can be a sign of gluten sensitivity. Of course, stomach bloating is a very common symptom of many gastrointestinal conditions. Therefore, it is important to note when the bloating is occurring and what, if anything, seems to contribute to its worsening.
3. Gas: Gluten sensitivity symptoms may include excessive gassiness or flatulence. Built up gas may also increase the sensations of pressure and fullness in the abdomen. An increase in gas may be attributed to many different types of food such as those that are high in fiber, such as beans. Thus it is worthwhile to evaluate various elements of a meal to see what may be triggering gassy sensations.
4. Neurological Problems: Dizziness, a lack of coordination and balance and neuropathy may be associated with gluten sensitivity symptoms. Feelings of numbness or tingling in the extremities may also occur. However, these can also be related to many other medical conditions. Therefore it is important that a physician be consulted if any of these symptoms present, particularly if they are persistent.
5. Diarrhea: Diarrhea, or loose stools, is common during certain types of viral and bacterial illness. However, the symptom is also very much related to many gastrointestinal conditions. When chronic in nature, diarrhea can be a sign of many digestive system disorders and may be indicative of a gluten intolerance.
6. Skin Rashes: Dermatitis Herpetiformis is one of the most common symptoms of celiac disease in women and men. However, it is thought that people that may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also encounter skin problems such as recurring rashes. In some cases, these skin problems have been alleviated with a gluten free diet.
7. Headaches and Migraines: Early studies have shown that as many as one in three possible sufferers of gluten sensitivity may be more prone to developing more frequent headaches and migraines. This actually may be more prevalent than the development of headaches in migraines than in people with diagnosed celiac disease.
8. Stomach Pain: Likely the most common of all gluten sensitivity symptoms, stomach and abdominal pain is experienced in the majority of sufferers for a variety of possible reasons. It may be due to increased gas or that which is trapped in the abdomen or the stomach pain may present as a symptom of associated constipation. Because persistent stomach pain is also attributed to irritable bowel syndrome, it is important that other persistent symptoms be evaluated alongside stomach pain for a better idea of the causative force.
9. Fatigue: Chronic fatigue is associated with many different conditions; however it is also a lesser known possible indicator of gluten sensitivity. In some cases, the fatigue may be most present immediately following a meal, and in other cases it may simply be persistent throughout the day.
10. Emotional and Mood Disturbances: It is been suggested that a tendency towards mood swings many be related to an intolerance to gluten. This can occur by itself, or may possible be related to irritability from persistent indigestion like symptoms.
The medical community is still divided on whether or not gluten sensitivity is an actual medical condition. While it is different from the diagnosable celiac disease, many gluten sensitivity symptoms are very similar or almost identical to those characterized by the autoimmune disease. Like celiac disease, gluten sensitivity can be easily remedied with the avoidance of foods high in gluten or maintaining a diet that consists of gluten free products, and many sufferers have found a marked reduction or elimination in symptoms as a result of the dietary changes. However, it is incredibly important that people who are experiencing gluten sensitivity symptoms see a health care provider before making dietary changes or electing gluten free products and an elimination of gluten from the diet. This is because if celiac disease exists, it will be impossible to detect it if the diet has already been changed, so it is important to consider having the necessary testing done before trying to treat the symptoms. Additionally, because many of the symptoms that relate to potential gluten sensitivity can be related to other medical conditions, it is also important to solicit the advice of a health care provider to ensure that there are no other explanations for the symptoms and that a diet of gluten free products is safe to try.